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Events in October

Children in halloween costumesChildren in halloween costumes

As summer says goodbye and autumn starts to take hold, the nights are lengthening... which means it's a great time to celebrate our dark skies or be brave, there's lots of spooky goings on in October too!

Find challenge walks, cycling and mountain biking, and fell and road running events listed in our Enjoy Outdoors pages.

This month we've partnered up with the experts from Hardmoors to hold our third MoorsRun (15 October), a family-friendly trail run in the heart of the Moors, for beginners and athletes alike. Sign up for the Rabbit Run (5k, minimum age 14 or 7 if accompanied by a parent or guardian) or the Turnpike Trot (10k, minimum age 16) and experience our fully marked and marshalled trail runs, with prizes and medals for all. Find out how to enter online here

Foodie fans should check out farmers' markets in and around the North York Moors, and Food & Beer Festivals. You can also search for events by date here, which includes a list of our free guided walks for the month or book online.

Starry skies and Halloween happenings - Dark Skies Fringe Festival

Join Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society (SARAS) as their regular stargazing events return for 2017 in Dalby Forest on 6 October. Held the first Friday of most months between October and March from 8 - 10 pm, these are free to attend (charitable donations welcome).

Also in Dalby Forest, there's a chance to explore not only our own solar system but objects from deep space on one of Hidden Horizon's two-hour Stargazing evening events (13 and 27 October). Booking is essential (Adults: £12; Under 16s: £8 inc. hot chocolate/snacks).

Head to the Yorkshire Arboretum for a stargazing evening (7 October) when the York Astronomical Society will be sharing their love of dark skies. Expect to see planets, moons, stars, nebulae and galaxies through a range of telescopes. Later in the month, there's a moth night (13 October), see how many different types of moth can be identified.

Is there a better way of exploring the gothic splendour of Whitby Abbey than after dark? Head there for The Illuminated Abbey (25-31 October) to admire Bram Stoker's inspiration in a new light, illuminated by coloured floodlighting. Costumed characters will talk of grave robbing and witch trials and experience a live performance of Dracula. This time of year, Whitby is also the natural home to the legendary biannual Whitby Goth Weekend autumn gathering (27-29 October), when thousands of Goths descend on their favourite haunt, and pay homage to Bram Stoker.  

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has fangtastic Halloween Trains (26-29 October) with scary storytelling, and spooktacular characters as they tell ghost stories and frightful tales along the way! Fancy dress encouraged (suitable for aged 5-12; pre-booking required).

Just north of the National Park, enter the Scream Factory at Kirkleatham Museum (20-31 October) and be prepared to be scared! The Twilight Tour is for families (aged 3+)  but as night-time falls, the atmosphere becomes more sinister for the Extreme Tour, a heart pumping, stomach-churning trail of fear. Or why not try the Isolated Tour, new for 2017, where you walk the Extreme Tour all by yourself in the dead of the night!

There's also special late Fright Night ghoulish ghost tours around Nunnigton Hall (31 October); hear haunted tales of the house on the 6pm family tour or 7pm adult only tour.

Look out for more details of next year's Dark Skies Festival which will return 10-25 February 2018!

Other great events and exhibitions

Peter Hicks: A Retrospective continues at the Inspired by... gallery until 16 October and looks back over more than 60 years of work from one of Yorkshire’s greatest living artists. One of the gallery's highlights during its 10th anniversary year, the exhibition will feature almost 300 works, from 80 postcard-sized paintings to huge canvases, and includes the work he’s best known for: dramatic landscapes of the North York Moors National Park.  

The gallery then welcomes touring exhibition Moorsview from 19 October featuring renowned local photographers who capture the beauty of the North York Moors and its coastline while gallery 2 introduces new artist Adrian Wright as Moors Moments depicts the moody and dramatic skies of the National Park.

Elsewhere there's a final chance to Carve your Initials into a stone this year (8 October), under the expert guidance of Charles Smith in Dalby Forest that will become part of the world's largest dry stone wall maze.

The spectacular North York Moors Coast is one on which dinosaurs have well and truly left their mark; and one of the best ways to discover it is on a Hidden Horizons Dinosaur Coast Discover Breaks hosted at Cober Hill (9 - 11 October). Expect to visit Runswick Bay, Saltwick Bay and Robin Hood's Bay in the search for fossils and dinosaur footprints.

Turn the clock back to the 1940s for Railway in Wartime (13-15 October), North Yorkshire Moors Railway's biggest event, with street parades, vehicle displays and re-enactments along the line. They'll be special events at Pickering Castle and Beck Isle Museum too. 

As the autumn colours peak, drop into Nunnington Hall for its Autumn Festival (19-22 October) for nature displays, apple tastings and garden tours with the experts. Helmsley Walled Garden also celebrates the English apple and more than 100 apple trees, at its third Apple Day (21 October), where you'll be able to taste, sample and find how to train apples to fit a space. Children gave have a go at apple bobbing and follow the family-friendly Apple Trail, plus enjoy apple-themed dishes in The Vine House Café. 

Autumn also means fungi and if you'd like to find out which ones are edible, get yourself booked onto a Fungi Foray at the Yorkshire Arboretum (24 October).

The last major music festival of the year is Musicport (20-22 October), held in Whitby Pavilion and it just happens to be the UK's biggest indoor world music festival. Don't miss it! 

Burton Agnes Hall's annual Michaelmas Fair runs 28-29 October, and will be filled with seasonal craft and food stalls, entertainers and fairground fun.

Half-term fun for children

It's all about Halloween this holiday! Drop in for spooky stories and a creepy trail at Whitby Abbey or the Alien Bugs and autumn trail at Yorkshire Arboretum and join the hunt for giant bug models (both 21 October - 5 November). Follow the Ghostly Treasure Hunt at our Danby Centre (23 October) and there's ghoulish and ghostly going-ons at Nunnington Hall on the Haunted happenings trail (26-29 October). The Old Coastguard Station's Halloween Trail (28-29 October) features chilling clues and spooky prizes or explore the Spooky Woodland Trail at Burton Agnes Hall (28 October - 1 November) if you're brave enough.

There's plenty going on at The Moors National Park Centre in Danby this week too, including Autumn Bulbs and Bat Shirts (both 24 October), fangtastic Halloween Crafts (25 October) and Spooky Spiders (26 October). Have a browse here to find our other events. Take part in quizzes and trails to get closer to nature and discover fun facts about this amazing place. 

Over at Sutton Bank, there'll be strange things happening (21-29 October) with seasonal crafts, trails and family activities on the theme of 'Myths and Legends'. Combine a visit with a spot of biking too, including round 4 of Sutton Bank Bikes' Kids Time Trial (21 October 2pm), with four categories starting from balance bikes and Halloween fancy dress; £3 per person and prizes for winners.

Follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs at Runswick Bay and Boggle Hole on one of Hidden Horizons fossil hunting trips (various dates, booking essential).

Beck Isle Museum has plenty on too, starting with Fossil Hunters (24 October), where you'll learn all about dinosaurs and fossils, and hunt for clues in the grounds, Easy peasy printing (26 October) when you can see the beautiful Columbian printing press, and Story time (27 October).

Download the Gruffalo Spotter app at home, then head to one of the forests at Dalby or Guisborough where Gruffalo and other characters will come to life on the Gruffalo Spotters Trail and augmented reality app. Look for clues which lead to footprint marker posts - point the app and watch Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and the Gruffalo appear before your eyes.